For the past nine years, the Rev. Betty Angelini ’09 has been leading Crestfield Camp and Conference Center, a Christian ministry facility of the Pittsburgh Presbytery located in Slippery Rock, Pa. Not only does Betty welcome campers to traditional on-site programs, but Crestfield also joins with local Presbyterian churches to assist with summer day camps. Additionally, Mission Possible camps bring young people to the facility and then provide opportunities for mission work in the local field.
Recently Betty’s work of bridging the Word and the world covered more of the map. For the first time, she and others from Crestfield went around the globe to provide a camp experience for children in Africa. At the invitation of the Rev. Ken White ’76, associate pastor at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, and the PCUSA Mission Agency, members of Crestfield worked with the children of mission co-workers in Africa. For a week in April, Betty joined Ken, who was serving as spiritual director to the mission co-workers; Aimee Spicuzza, M.Div. student at PTS and employee at Crestfield; and two others from Crestfield—Becky Little, program director, and Mike Hilf, assistant program director.
While the mission co-workers and mission staff from Louisville met for a week-long conference, Betty and the others from Crestfield provided a camp experience for the attendees’ children. The group of more than 20 enjoyed daily worship together as well as Bible studies and time for fun, including making t-shirts, playing games, and singing silly camp songs.
The week culminated in a worship service led by the children and youth. “The kids took high ownership of this service,” said Betty. “If you’ve ever worked with youth ministry you know that the Holy Spirit truly has to be present. They did a beautiful job!” The younger children played Jesus Loves Me on the hand bells and acted out Scripture, while the older ones led the Call to Worship through the energizer, “Revolution,” and Bible study. “It was truly an amazing thing!”
Often children of mission workers, frequently called “third-culture kids,” struggle to find their place in these settings. While their parents are striving in pursuit of the Lord’s work, the children are worshipping in a foreign land and language. They may not have the chance to ask questions related to their special circumstances. “The parents were so appreciative of us being there to be present with their children,” says Betty.
Next year Betty hopes to be able to do a similar camp program in Latin America. “We live in a day and age when in ministry we are working to be missional. We have to go out into the world,” says Betty. “This is the beginning of a wonderful partnership between the campus and conference ministry and the mission ministry of the PCUSA.”